SAfER:Oyo Farmers To Get Additional N340.2m

Mohammed Shosanya

The Oyo state government has said it will commence disbursement of N 340. 270 million to eligible crop farmers across the seven zones of the state as from Friday, February 9, 2024.

This is in addition to a sum of N416.850m recently disbursed to 1,407 farmers across the state in the third batch of the programme.

The state government had provided a sum of N1billion under the
Sustainable Action for Economic Recovery ( SAfER) initiative of the state government to support farmers in the state to cushion the effects of subsidy removal by the federal government.

Addressing newsmen on the progress of the SAfER programme at the Press Centre of the Governor’s Office on Thursday, the Chairman, Agric Credit Corporation of Oyo State,(ACCOS), Sheikh Taofeek Akeugbagold, explained that project has been non-partisan as it is available for the generality of legitimate farmers and would-be farmers of the state including the youths that were trained by the State Government under the YEAP programme.

He said, in view of the present economic hardship being experienced by the citizenry of the state, the Corporation has been given a marching order to better the lots of the peasants most importantly in the area of agriculture.

He gave a breakdown of the how funds were disbursed with reference to the categorization of the state into seven(7) major zones.

According to him, in Ibadan Zone I which is supervised by the Bank of Agriculture, Ibadan, a total number 547 beneficiaries have been disbursed with a sum of N156.75Om, while Ibadan Zone II undertaken by Onibuore Microfinance Bank has disbursed the sum of N118.950m to 401 beneficiaries.

“However, in Oyo Zone undertaken by the Bank of Agriculture, Oyo, a total number of 171 beneficiaries have collected the sum of N50,700m while Ogbomoso Zone handled by Randalpha Microfinance Bank disbursed the sum of N29.250m to 84 beneficiaries.

“Also Oke Ogun Zone 1 handled by Ifedapo Microfinance Bank, Saki, disbursed a total sum of N26.230m to 79 beneficiaries while Oke Ogun Zone 2 supervised by Bank of Agriculture Iseyin disbursed the sum of N30.800m to 110 beneficiaries and Ibarapa Zone undertaken by Igboora Microfinance Bank disbursed the sum of N4.050m to 15 beneficiaries.”

“This makes the total sum of N416.85Om disbursed to 1,407 farmers,” he said.

Besides, Akeugbagold also gave the breakdown of how funds for the 4th batch will be disbursed across the various zones as from tomorrow Friday 9th February, 2024 as follows:

“Ibadan I :To be undertaken by Bank of Agriculture, Ibadan.75.950m for 269 beneficiaries.Ibadan II: Represented by Onibuore
Microfinance Bank ,N132.250m for 474 beneficiaries.”

“Oyo: Bank of Agriculture, Oyo N24.50m for 87 beneficiaries.Oke-Ogun I:Ifedapo beneficiaries
Microfinance ,N 26.270 m for 93 beneficiaries.

“Oke-Ogun II:Bank of Agriculture, Iseyin. N13.450m for 53 beneficiaries.Ogbomoso: Randalpha Microfinance Bank N44.200m for 159 beneficiaries.Ibarapa: lgboora Microfinance Bank N23.650m for 92 beneficiaries.”

Assuring that real farmers that missed out from all the batches that have been previously considered will be taken care of once the payment is coming forth, he also implored fresh graduates who are interested in agricultural practices to approach the corporation to access fund.

He admonished all the beneficiaries to complement the effort of the government by being faithful with the funds they obtained and to reciprocate the kind gesture of the government by paying back the fund by the due date such that others could benefit from it as a revolving fund.

Nigeria Okays Commercial Release Of GM Maize Varieties

Mohammed Shosanya

The Federal Government,has approved the commercial release of transgenic insect resistant and drought tolerant maize varieties, known as TELA maize.

The approval was granted by the National Committee on Naming, Registration and Release of Crop Varieties, Livestock breeds/Fisheries (NCNRRCVLF) headed by Prof Olusoji Olufajo at its 37th meeting at the National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB), Ibadan on Thursday.

A statement on Friday explained that the four varieties approved by the NVRC are, SAMMAZ 72T, SAMMAZ 73T, SAMMAZ 74T, and SAMMAZ 75T.

The new maize varieties are drought tolerant and are resistant to stem-borer and fall armyworm resulting in yield advantage of up to 10 tonnes per hectare under good agronomic practices.

The national average for similar hybrids is 6 tonnes per hectare. The varieties are suitable for Rain Forest, Guinea, and Sudan Savannas.

Stem-borer reduces maize production in several countries in Africa, while fall armyworm can destroy up to 20 million metric tons of maize in Africa each year, enough to feed 100 million people.

The release and registration of the four varieties followed environmental release approval in October 2021 granted by the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA).

Development of the improved varieties was led by the Institute for Agricultural
Research (IAR) Samaru, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria through the TELA Maize Public-Private Partnership coordinated by AATF.

The TELA Maize Project is currently being implemented in 5 countries – Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, and South Africa.

Prof Ado Yusuf, Executive Director, IAR expressed satisfaction with the release of the new four maize varieties saying, “IAR is very proud of our scientists who are addressing the maize productivity challenges in the country and beyond.

“These varieties have undergone thorough research and have been developed using the tools of biotechnology over several years of continuous testing and revalidation.”

Dr Canisius Kanangire,Executive Director of African Agricultural Technology Foundation(AATF) said, “the release of TELA Maize in Nigeria will contribute to food and nutrition security in line with the Federal Government’s Agricultural Transformation agenda.

“AATF reaffirms unwavering commitment to addressing challenges faced by farmers across the continent.”

Professor Garba Sharubutu, the Executive Secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), said the approval of the TELA Maize variety in Nigeria is a critical milestone that confirms the potential of biotechnology in ensuring food and nutrition security, and improved livelihood of farming households in Africa.

Prof. Mustapha Abdullahi, Director-General, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) celebrated the release saying that, with the advent of TELA Maize, farmers will reduce the use of pesticides on maize to the bare minimum which is beneficial to humans, livestock, and environment.

Dr Sylvester Oikeh, the TELA Maize Project Manager celebrated the decision by Nigeria by calling on other countries in Africa to act for farmers.

“I am encouraged by this decision by the Federal Government of Nigeria that reflects their commitment to the needs of farmers.

“I congratulate the scientists for their hard work and dedication that has seen the product getting closer to farmers and look forward to other countries making similar decisions for the good of the farmer,” he said.

How Oyo Farmers Will Access N1bn Loan-Akeugbagold

 

Mohammed Shosanya

 

 

The Chairman, Oyo State Agricultural Credit Corporation of Oyo State, (ACCOS), Sheik Taofik Akeugbagold, has listed the criteria being used to disburse the One Billion Naira loan to farmers to ensure geographical spread.

 

Akeugbagold disclosed this during a sensitization tour to the 7 geopolitical zones in the State which ended on Tuesday.

 

He also said to access the N1b single digit interest loan under the Sustainable Action for Economic Recovery (SAfER) sub-committee, an applicant must be a duly recognized farmer.

 

Speaking further on the criteria for the disbursement at Oke Ogun Zone 1, Iseyin area, Sheik Akeugbagold, revealed that the reason for the tour was to interact and identify genuine farmers in the state.

 

He hinted that the corporation will guard against giving loans to ‘farmers on paper’, saying this would ensure that the targeted farmers benefit from the gesture.

 

He explained that after the sensitization exercise, Application forms could be gotten at each Local Government Council at the office of the Director of Agriculture.

 

He added that the ACCOS Field Officers and the identified Banks in each domain will be involved in the process.

 

On the conditions for qualification, the Chairman said the form can only be collected individually free of charge.

 

He emphasized that the social media or internet is not a sales point, adding that no official of the Board or the Ministry of Agriculture will liaise with residents from the internet.

 

Akeugbagold said an applicant will need a Civil Servant, from Grade level 07 and above as guarantor, depending on the amount of loan requested.

 

He added: “We are moving round the 7 zones of the State to sensitize farmers on the need and where to access the #1b loan under the SAfER Sub-committee  of food security.

 

“The Forms would be out after the sensitization tour and they will be available for collection free of charge through the Directors of agric in their various councils, the severed banks and ACCOS adding that the form is not online.

 

“However, please note that group lending would not be entertained” the Board Chairman added.

 

In his remarks, the General Manager of the Board, Comrade Emmanuel Ogundiran revealed that farmers owing the Board, the State Government or any of the participating financial institutions would not have access, except if they are cleared by the Board or the participating institutions.

 

He hinted that the exercise would not be politicized in any form, saying that the Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has equally trained farmers on climate resilience.

 

He added that the government has put plans in place to enhance peaceful co-existence between herders and farmers, through continuous meetings with the affected parties.

 

 

———- Forwarded message ———
From: Ministry of Information <oyominofinformation@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Nov 21, 2023, 4:04 PM
Subject: Oyo Govt. Lists Criteria For Disbursing N1Bn Loan To Farmers
To: <oyoministryofinformation@gmail.com>

Good afternoon dear colleagues. The Oyo State government has listed criteria for accessing the 1Bn naira loan to farmers. Pls, find the statement below. Thank you.

Press Release

 

Oyo Govt. Lists Criteria For Disbursing N1Bn Loan To Farmers

The Chairman, Oyo State Agricultural Credit Corporation of Oyo State, (ACCOS), Sheik Taofik Akeugbagold, has listed the criteria being used to disburse the One Billion Naira loan to farmers to ensure geographical spread.

Akeugbagold made the revelation during a sensitization tour to the 7 geopolitical zones in the State which ended today.

The muslim cleric also said to access the N1b single digit interest loan under the Sustainable Action for Economic Recovery (SAfER) sub-committee, an applicant must be a duly recognized farmer.

Speaking further on the criteria for the disbursement at Oke Ogun Zone 1, Iseyin area, Sheik Akeugbagold, revealed that the reason for the tour was to interact and identify genuine farmers in the state.

He hinted that the corporation will guard against giving loans to ‘farmers on paper’, saying this would ensure that the targeted farmers benefit from the gesture.

The Chairman explained that after the sensitization exercise, Application forms could be gotten at each Local Government Council at the office of the Director of Agriculture.

He added that the ACCOS Field Officers and the identified Banks in each domain will be involved in the process.

Speaking on the conditions for qualification, the Chairman said the form can only be collected individually free of charge.

He stressed that the social media or internet is not a sales point, adding that no official of the Board or the Ministry of Agriculture will liaise with residents from the internet.

Akeugbagold said an applicant will need a Civil Servant, from Grade level 07 and above as guarantor, depending on the amount of loan requested.

According to him, “we are moving round the 7 zones of the State to sensitize farmers on the need and where to access the #1b loan under the SAfER Sub-committe of food security.

“The Forms would be out after the sensitization tour and they will be available for collection free of charge through the Directors of agric in their various councils, the severed banks and ACCOS adding that the form is not online.

“However, please note that group lending would not be entertained” the Board Chairman stressed.

In his remarks, the General Manager of the Board, Comrade Emmanuel Ogundiran revealed that farmers owing the Board, the State Government or any of the participating financial institutions would not have access, except if they are cleared by the Board or the participating institutions.

He hinted that the exercise would not be politicized in any form, saying that the Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has equally trained farmers on climate resilience.

He added that the government has put plans in place to enhance peaceful co-existence between herders and farmers, through continuous meetings with the affected parties.

In his address at Ibarapa Zone, the Commissioner 3, Civil Service Commission, Chief Ogunjinmi commended Governor Makinde for being a visionary leader whose efforts in the agricultural sector would forever be appreciated, urging the farmers to make judicious use of the loan when granted.

Oyo Unveils N1bn Loan Facility For Farmers

Mohammed Shosanya

The Oyo State Government has provided N1billion loan facility to the Oyo State Agricultural Credit corporation for farmers across the state.

The single digit interest loan facility would ensure more access at reasonable interest rates for farmers to expand their business and attract potential investors into the farming value chain.

Speaking during a media briefing recently, the Executive Chairman, Oyo State Agricultural Credit corporation, Alh. Taofeek Akeugbagold said that the present administration was committed to reforming the farming sector with notable programmes like the Sustainable Action for Economic Recovery (SAfER), among others.

He said this will ensure food security and cushion the effect of removal of fuel subsidy, by the federal government.

He said the loan facility will focus on the smally holder farmers, who bear the burden of feeding the teeming population.

“His Excellency, the Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Seyi Makinde has graciously approved the release of One (1) Billion Naira under the Sustainable Actions for Economic Recovery (SAFER) Programme which is to be disbursed to the Farmers in all the Thirty-three (33) Local Government Areas of the State so as to improve food security in the State”, he said.

“They account for about Ninety Per cent (90%) of the Farmers population and this responsible for about Ninety-Five Per cent (95%) of the aggregate food and fibre production in the State”, he said.

He said:”They are mostly residents of the State’s rural areas who are poorly served by basic public amenities.”

Akeugbagold said to access the loan, which will be disbursed and recouped by microfinance banks across the seven geopolitical zones in the state, each benefitting farmer must bring a guarantor, who is a civil servant on Grade level 7 and above.

He noted that the scheme would bring more stability to develop the agricultural sector and provide an enabling environment for the development of Oyo State farms and Agricultural Business.

Alh. Taofeek Akeugbagold said the loan process, which is apolitical, will be disbursed to farmers who are duly registered with the state Ministry of Agriculture.

In his remarks, the General Manager, Agric credit corporation, Mr. Emmanuel Ogundiran explained that, “The Oyo State government has recapitalized the corporation, we have received some funds and one of the mandates of the corporation is financing the agric value chain completely’’.

Ogundiran said;“The modality in giving out the loan is going to be exactly as enshrined in loan conditions of the Corporation. We have set rules for giving out loans and for this programme, we are making use of Microfinance Banks which are governed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, regulations and also regulated by the bank and financial institutions body’’.

He added, “The Corporation is funded by a system of revolving accounts which were built up over the years. Moreover, considering the realities of the present time accentuated by the removal of fuel subsidy, which has severally impoverished the peasantry, the loan support programme cannot have come at a better time.

He stated, “For ease of Administration, The Corporation has divided the entire State into Seven (7) Zones and intends to commence a sensitization campaign in all the aforementioned Zones very soon. The procedure for disbursement shall be unveiled at the subsequent Town-Hall meetings with the Farmers which will take place across the Seven (7) Zones which the State has been divided. ”

Mohammed Shosanya

The Oyo State Government implored farmers in the state to embrace new methods of farming, saying the development will boost food security in the state and the country.

The state commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Barrister Olasunkanmi Olaleye ,disclosed this while speaking to journalists in Ibadan, as part of activities lined up to celebrate 2023 World Food Day.

He noted that the only way to improve farm yield was for the farmers to embrace modern forms of farming, saying there were improved seeds that can bring quality yields more than the ancient practices.

He said the present government in the state under Engr. Oluseyi Makinde has invested in training and retraining of Agricultural Extension Officers and farmers in various capacities through collaborative efforts to enhance food security.

Speaking on various efforts of the government through his ministry on food security, the Commissioner hinted that about 285 farmers were trained on Emergency Training and Demonstration of Climate Resilient Practices in Maize, tomatoes, cassava, yam and cowpea to enhance increase yield.

He added that about 135 farmers were empowered with 1bag each of NPK fertilizer, adding that about 95 youths and women farmers were equally trained on processing, packaging, value addition and utilization of yam and cassava.

He added that 80 of the above mentioned were also trained on all season tomatoes – tomatoes that would bring yield all round the year.

Mr. Olaleye said an example of this was in Awe Rural Community Development Centre, which is now Oyo State-IITA Youth Agribusiness Incubation Park Centre, Awe.

According to the Commissioner, “we have equally distributed poultry feed to 2022 flood affected poultry farmers in collaboration with the Federal Government”.

“250 farmers were trained in collaboration with Elyson Gold Consultancy EGC on mushroom production, Animal feed quality control on the feed mill system has been introduced through feed analyzers to prevent sales of poor quality feeds to the farmers, most especially poultry farmers. Also, we have established a Pasture Growers Association to prevent future clashes between herders and farmers. This will help in full implementation of Grazing Control Law”.

On livestock, Barrister Olasunkanmi said “training is ongoing on artificial insemination on local breeds such as turkey, sheep, goats and cattle. He explained that this would improve the quality, weight of animals, making animal production more profitable within a short period for farmers. All these are modern ways of farming which the government has put in place to ensure food security in the state”.

He urged farmers to toe the path laid by the government on the need to enhance food security, saying part of the government’s responsibility is to create a conducive environment.

He said the introduction of modern ways of farming would enhance productivity, assuring that all these efforts of the government would be revealed in the next farm harvest season.

Oyo Moves To Partner IITA On Food Security

Mohammed Shosanya

Oyo state governor,Seyi Makinde,has expressed intent of his administration to collaborate with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to ensure food security in the state.

He disclosed while receiving the Director-General of the IITA and CGIAR Regional Director, Continental Africa, Dr. Simeon Ehui and his team at the Courtesy Room of the Governor’s Office.

Appreciating the Institute for its collaborative efforts with the state since he took office in 2019, Makinde said he would partner with the Institute to address the challenges of food insecurity and that by so doing, the state would have solved the poverty problem by a half.

He maintained that his government is determined to tackle the challenge of food insecurity, saying: “As a country, we are going through challenges right now, in the economy, they have removed the lid on the exchange rates, and also PMS subsidy has been removed, so these have brought in quite a bit of hardship on the people.

“If you also look into the needs of the people, they say that if you take care of hunger then, poverty has been solved, so you cannot toy with the issue of food security. This means that leaders at this particular time in this country have to work three times as hard for anyone to even notice that they are doing something.

“With the IITA, if we focus on taking care of hunger through food security in our state, then we would have been able to solve half of the challenges ahead of us.

“So, I want to pledge that, even though it is a new DG, as a state we will continue to work together to tackle food security within our state and within the country and the continent. So, we will continue to partner with you,” the governor said.

He said he was looking forward to further profitable partnerships with the Institute, even as he added that the government would continue with the Start Them Early Programme (STEP), which trains secondary school students in Oyo state on agribusiness practices.

He said: “On behalf of the people of Oyo State, I welcome you back to your home and to your state. I like the idea that you have been here at IITA as a young researcher and now you are back as the DG after going around the world.

“What that means to us is that you have brought back all the knowledge you must have acquired and also you have the opportunity to do those things that, as a young researcher you had thought if I have this opportunity I can do this. Now, the opportunity is here so you have to file those things out.

“Personally also, let me use this opportunity to say thank you to the team at IITA.

“When we came in about four years ago, we sat down, of course I asked Dr Debo Akande, we have around Ibadan here almost six or seven research institutes, we have IITA, we have Forestry Research Institute, we have National Cereals Institute, Cocoa Research Institute, NIHORT, so I said what are we getting as a state from these research institutes? How have they benefitted us as a state?

“That interaction actually gave birth to STEP programme and it has been very successful and I am glad that the state government collaborated with IITA to focus on those youngsters.

“I would like to say that the programme will continue and now, we plan to extend it to other parts of the state. So, we will continue the programme.”

In his remarks,the IITA boss and CGIAR Regional Director, Continental Africa, Dr. Ehui, said the Institute is ready to work with the state government to improve the food security system in the state.

He said the food system in Africa is being challenged due to climate change,and assured the state of more support from the Institute, as it partners with it to deliver on their mandates.

ABP: CBN Faults IMF Loan Non Repayment Claim

By Mohammed Shosanya

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),has faulted claims by the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) that the loans given to farmers under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) are not being repaid promptly.

The CBN’s Acting Spokesman Dr. AbdulMumin Isa,who echoed this in a statement obtained by Premium News,said 52.39 per cent of the loans it granted under the ABP have been repaid.

He said: “total repayments as of the end of February 2023 under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) stood at N503 billion, representing 52.39 per cent.The balance was not due for repayment because they are under moratorium due to the COVID-19 forbearance granted to beneficiaries of the CBN’s interventions in March 2020 and extended to February 28, 2022”.

He said the CBN has so far released “the sum of N1.079 trillion, as of February 28, 2023, and pledged the bank’s commitment to stimulate access to finance for the real sector.

He added: “it is pertinent to note that the tenor of loans under the ABP is based on the commodity gestation period. For instance, loans granted to farmers cultivating some perennial crops could have up to a seven-year tenor”.

According to him,the CBN’s core objective for its interventions is to catalyze “the economy’s productive base, continue to support investments in capital assets in sectors with high-growth and employment-elastic potential.

He explained that CBN ABP had supported about 4.57 million smallholder farmers at end-February, 2023, who cultivated over 6.02 million hectares of 21 commodities across the country”.

He listed the commodities as rice, wheat, cowpea, millet, maize, cotton, fish, soya bean, poultry, cassava, groundnut, ginger, sorghum, oil palm, cocoa, sesame, tomato, castor seed, yellow pepper, onions, and cattle/dairy.

He added that the ABP has hithertho contributed significantly to the increased national output of focal commodities, with maize and rice peaking at 12.2 and 9.0 million metric tonnes in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

He said the programme had also helped to improve the national average yield per hectare of these commodities, with productivity per hectare almost doubling within the eight years of the Programme’s implementation.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its country report titled ‘Nigeria: Selected Issues’, had revealed that as at January 12, 2023 about 76 percent of the loans granted to farmers under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) are yet to be repaid.

It said agricultural credit in Nigeria generally has not succeeded in increasing production because of “the difficulty in targeting the correct recipients”.

NLNG, LCCI Harp On Sustainable Food Security In Nigeria

 

Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG), in partnership with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI),recently presented the joint-winning works of The Nigeria Prize for Science (2022) to industry players in order to push agricultural innovations that can positively impact food security in the country.

The presentation of the winning works, Gains in Grain Yield of Released Maize (Zea Mays L.) Cultivars under Drought and Well-Watered Conditions by Dr Muhydideen Oyekunle and Professor Shehu Ado; and Development of Process Plant for Plantain Flour by Professor Sesan Peter Ayodeji and Dr Emmanuel Olatunji Olutomilola was made at an interactive business forum.

“Gains in Grain Yield of Released Maize (Zea Mays L.) Cultivers under Drought and Well-Watered Conditions” speaks to developing hybrid, high-yielding and water stress-tolerant maize seeds.

On the other hand, Development of Process Plant for Plantain Flour is an important innovation for reducing the spoilage of farm products. It is also resourceful in scaling up from batch production to industrial-scale continuous flour production and it is relevant beyond plantain to other food items.

The guests at the event included the General Manager of External Relations and Sustainable Development, Andy Odeh; the LCCI President, Asiwaju (Dr.) Michael Olawale-Cole; the LCCI Director-General, Dr. Chinyere Almona; and members of the Nigeria Prize for Science Advisory Board, Chief (Dr) Nike Akande and Professor Yusuf Abubakar.

Speaking,Mr Odeh said the Prize’s focus on Food Security in 2022 was in line with Goal Two (2) of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which seeks sustainable solutions to end hunger by 2030 and to achieve food security.

He said the company was interested in the impact the innovations would have on food security and socio-economic well-being of Nigerians, and stated further that the Company was aware that it is not enough to have innovations without them impacting society.

“Being a company committed to building a better Nigeria, NLNG is seeking ways to ensure that these improvements bring about positive developmental change in its home country,” he stated.

The Chairman of the Prize’s Advisory Board, Professor Barth Nnaji, who was represented by Board member, Chief (Dr) Nike Akande, stated that the innovations had the potential for high impact.

“There are two components to it. There is one about machinery. By developing such equipment, we are making significant progress in-country. Then, there is the technique of producing a product with a multiplier effect and many benefits. This interactive workshop will raise awareness for our society to know that these two aspects are real outcomes from last year’s prize.

“The business community and industries are the ones that should take that outcome to society. It is also our strategic view that this event would bring to the fore investment networks and harmonisation of efforts to support agriculture in Nigeria,” he said.

Cashew Exporters To Rake In $500m In 2023

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Mahood Abubarkar, has said that cashew export will fetch Nigerian farmers about $500million by 2023.

He stated this on Wednesday at the launch of Nigeria Cashew Day and Cashew Season flag-off ceremony with the theme:” Industrializing the Nigeria Cashew Sector through Inclusive Policies”.

He also disclosed that of the 250,000 mt of cashew nuts produced in Nigeria, only about 10% is processed.

The Minister,who was represented at the event by Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, said at the end of 2022, cashew nuts exported from Nigeria generated over $250million (accounting for about 10% of the country’s agricultural export) and cashew export is expected to fetch Nigerian farmers about $500million by 2023.

He said:”I therefore, implore you to continue working together in harmony as this is the only way you can make positive impact towards sustainable development of the cashew industry and ensuring its contribution in achieving the overall goal of this Administration’s Economic Diversification Agenda.

“In Nigeria, cashew is increasing in its importance as an export oriented cash crop since in the 1990’s. It has become an important source of non-oil export earnings (estimated to represent over 10% GDP based on export data of 2022). It has become a commercial crop in Nigeria and is cultivated in 27 States of Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“In realization of the importance of Cashew, the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development listed Cashew as a priority crop to be promoted under the Import Substitution Strategy of the present administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Cashew value chain is among the crops being promoted under the Value Chain Programme of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The Ministry has carried out a number of activities over the years to promote the growth of the value chain in the country. These includes:distribution of improved seeds/seedlings to cashew farmers free of charge,establishment of cashew cottage industries in some states, distribution of agro-chemicals/growth enhancers, carbon free jute bags, knapsack sprayers, water pump to cashew farmers free of charge, conduct of capacity building/training, sensitization exercise, stakeholders meeting e.t.c.

“As a result of the above activities by Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, jobs were created along the value chain, income of farmers improved and our country’s foreign exchange earnings also improved. At the end of 2022, cashew nuts exported from Nigeria generated over $250million (accounting for about 10% of the country’s agricultural export) and cashew export is expected to fetch Nigerian farmer about $500million by 2023.

” it is important to note however that, one of the major constraints of the cashew industry in Nigeria is skill gap, technological know-how on processing, inadequate processing capacity of our processing plants and equipment.

” Of the 250,000 mt of cashew nuts produced in Nigeria, only about 10% is processed while Raw Cashew Nuts (RCN) are sold to cashew buying agents for export and cashew apple eaten raw and the rest wasted because of inadequate facilities to process other cashew derivative e.g cashew juice, jam, ice cream etc. This means exporting Nigerian jobs to other countries.

Edo state governor, represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Hon. Stephen Idehenre, said government hope is to see the event attract more investors, impact knowledge , harmonize our cashew industry for the gain of the state economy .

Obaseki said: “Our collaboration with the private sector to grow the oil Palm and cassava value chains are testimonies of how well thought policies could foster effective economic growth and development. The state is campioning the biggest single investment in oil Palm production in Africa through Edo State Oil Palm Programme.

” A total of 62,500 hectares have been allocated to nine investors in this respect. The theme of this event is apt as the development of Inclusive Policies for the sector will no doubt grow cashew value chains as demonstrated by the Eso state government in its Oil Palm intensification initiative.

“The state is making an effort to ease farmers access to improved seeing for increased productivity. 40,000 caco seedlings would be distributed in 2023 to Cocoa farmers in the State. Also , 150,000 cashew seedlings would be distributed under our collaboration with PRO- Cashew , a project funded by USDA, and implemented by cultivating new frontiers in Agriculture.

In 2021, 50,000 cashew seedlings were distributed to farmers under the collaboration between the state government and the federation of agricultural commodity associations of Nigeria.

Speaking,the National President, National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN), Prince Ojo Joseph Ajanaku, said at present Nigeria is said to be the 5th largest producer of cashew in the world with Ivory Coast taking the lead.

Prince Ojo posited that, cashew growth in Nigeria has been steadily expanding over the last 3 years by 11%, which implies that the sector has the potential to drive national revenue generation, job creation and economic diversification.

He said: “The National Cashew Association of Nigeria was founded in 1999 to harmonize and coordinate the affairs of cashew private sector players for the profitability of all stakeholders. NCAN’s long term goal is to transform Nigeria from a low-priced commodity producer to a reliable supplier and exporter of high-quality cashew products (kernels, nuts, foods and indigenous innovations etc.).

“Nigeria is currently said to be 5th largest producer of cashew in the world with Ivory Coast taking the lead.Cashew growth in Nigeria has been steadily expanding over the last 3 years by 11%, which implies that the sector has the potential to drive national revenue generation, job creation and economic diversification.

” It is worthy to mention that cashew can be produced in all states in Nigeria, however, only 22 states including the FCT are currently producing cashew in commercial volume.
More than 3 million people in Nigeria, mostly women, works in the cashew sector, which also provides the primary source of household income for more than one million rural households in Nigeria.

“While cashew output in Nigeria has experienced growth, the same cannot be said for the country’s processing capacities.
Less than 10% of cashew nut production is processed locally in Nigeria, which presents significant constraint for the country’s value addition efforts.

” Although a number of processors have successfully supplied the international market, they still need to be helped to strengthen and grow their tiny market share.
Major constraints include the high cost of capital and high staff turnover but, more importantly, the difficulty in purchasing and storing raw nuts to process throughout the year”.

Nigeria To Produce 30m mt Of Rice By 2030

The Federal Government has announced that it is targetting to produce locally 30million metric tonnes of rice by 2030.

At the launch of the National Rice Development Strategy II (NRDS II, 2020-2030) and the Competitive African Rice Platform (CARP) SRP-Nigeria in Abuja, Dr. Fatima Aliyu, Competitive Africa Rice Platform (CARP)/Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development(FMARD) Focal Person, said Nigeria is currently producing over 15 million metric tonnes of rice.

He said Nigeria has the potential to attain self-sufficiency in rice production within the targeted period.

Also speaking, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Baba Shehuri, said the Federal Government was committed to the promotion of agricultural sector in order to realise its potential of achieving food and nutrition security for Nigeria”s teeming population.

He explained that the rice value chain has been identified as being strategic to achieving the lofty objective of food and nutritional security.

He recalled that the NRDS I which was used to develop the Rice Transformation Agenda under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda and Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP) served as a catalyst for the commencement of the Rice revolution in the country.

The minister noted its implementation began with the adoption of a Value Chain system as a holistic approach to transform the rice sector in Nigeria, adding that this initiative has helped the Government to provide enablers and support to Rice production, processing and marketing end to end.

“It encouraged a private sector-driven agriculture that started in 2011 as an adopted strategy of the Federal Government to reduce the huge import bill by accelerating paddy production, improve processing quality and promoting consumption of home grown rice,” he said.

The significant success recorded in the implementation of NRDS 1, he said in 2020 , the National paddy production rose significantly  towards the rice self-sufficiency.

He said:”NRDS I was reviewed to give rise to the formulation of a new NRDS document in 2021.

“The NRDS II document is a ten-year plan which seeks to provide direction for the development of the rice sub-sector to achieve government’s goals of self-sufficiency in rice production, food and nutrition security, employment creation and production of surplus for export.

“The document was adopted at the 4th National Council of Agriculture (NCA) which was held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja in 2021 by all the stakeholders with support from Competitive Africa Rice Platform (CARP).

“CARP formerly known as Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) is dedicated to the productivity and sustainability of the Rice industry with two main objectives which are to ensure the competitiveness of Nigerian Rice and sustainability of the Nigeria rice sector. The Competitive African Rice Platform CARP (SRP)-Nigeria is a multi-stakeholders’ platform set up to advocate policies and drive transformational changes in standard practices in the rice sector.”